Lakewood Schools using anonymous app for reporting bullying, threats

LAKEWOOD, Ohio – The Lakewood City School District has begun using an app that allows students to anonymously report bullying, threats and other concerns to administrators.

The district rolled out the STOPit app in its middle schools and high school last week.

There have already been more than thirty reports made at Garfield Middle School, ranging from minor conflicts to serious issues, according to principal Mark Walter.

“Having the ability to report something anonymously opens up that line of communication where someone might be hesitant to say something,” Walter said. “We have the opportunity to fix something before it happens. Once violence occurs, it’s a reaction.”

Students who download the app on their phone or computer can send an anonymous message or image to school leaders, who can respond and take action.

Walter said it's an easy and comfortable way for students to say something if they see something. The school has had an anonymous hotline, but the app takes advantage of the way students now communicate.

“Kids today don’t communicate by picking up the phone and calling. They use social media, they use texting, most of their communication comes via their cell phones or their computers,” Walter said. “This falls right into what they're comfortable with.”

The STOPit app comes at no cost to the district since it's covered by insurance. The Lakewood City School District said the program is in a pilot stage and may be expanded to all of its schools in the future.